WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump, who has feuded with several media personalities and organizations, will not attend the White House Correspondents’ Association annual black-tie dinner for the second straight year, the president of the group said on Friday.
Last year, Trump was the first U.S. president to skip the event in 36 years. Most officials in his administration also snubbed the dinner.
“The White House has informed us that the president does not plan to participate in this year’s dinner but that he will actively encourage members of the executive branch to attend and join us as we celebrate the First Amendment,” Margaret Talev, the president of the White House Correspondents’ Association, said.
The First Amendment is the section of the U.S. Constitution that mentions freedom of the press.
Talev, a correspondent for Bloomberg, said White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders would represent the Trump administration at the April 28 dinner.
Trump had said in an interview aired on Friday on New York radio station 77 WABC that he probably would not attend the dinner, which normally features big names from the worlds of politics and entertainment as guests of media organizations.
Trump had attended the dinner before becoming president, notably in 2011, when former U.S. President Barack Obama publicly ribbed Trump about questioning whether Obama was born in the United States. Obama was born in Hawaii.
But in 2017, Trump, who frequently complains about media coverage of his administration, said he would sit out the event, adding that reporters had treated him unfairly. He said at the time that he would “absolutely” attend this year.
Reporters for The New York Times and CNN, along with news website Politico and Reuters, were granted awards by the White House Correspondents’ Association this year.
(Reporting by Doina Chiacu and Roberta Rampton; Writing by Makini Brice; Editing by Bill Trott)